“Be safe badger, be safe!”
Badger mural © Richard Sutcliffe
One, two, three, four, five, six – six shots. I feel the same sickness I felt a year ago rise in my throat. It’s them, I know it!
I check the clock – 5:40 AM. Darkness is just lifting her black veil. In my mind’s eye, I see an ancient clan returning to their sett after a night’s worming straying into the sights of the guns. The dominant boar watches his clan die. All mother brock knows and lives for now lies scattered on the ground. The surprise, the shock, as they helplessly fight for their lives, while I lie safely in my bed.
I whisper my sorrow for these ancient creatures and ask for their forgiveness for the actions of mankind. The Cull, it’s here, so close this time! The pain, the grief, the injustice of it all.
Later that week, I checked my favourite sett. This beautiful, historic sett that has been known by my family for generations. Sitting atop fresh digging scored with claw marks from last night’s excavations, sat in the gleaming morning light the most perfect fossil ammonite set in Mendip lime. It really felt like Mr Badger had left it specially for me, a message that his clan was still there and not defeated.
Vowing not to be defeated myself (I cannot help but feel despair at times), I joined my first wounded badger patrol on this second year of the Mendip Cull. We started our moonlit walk with a flock of wild ducks flying overhead, their silhouettes and delightful quacks putting a spring in our step. During the evening, whilst discussing our need to protest peacefully against the killing of our wildlife by walking the public footpaths, our navigator made a comment that stood out to me. She said, “We do, after all, have RIGHT on our side and I will walk with my head held high!”
Our walk came to an end and all seemed quiet, only the Tawnies scolding us for the intrusion. Just as we were about to leave, my heart skipped a beat when I saw a badger trot out in front of us. He was a beauty, in his prime. Mesmerised, we stopped and watched him in the beam of our lights. He was in a hurry, on his way for a night of foraging. We gasped in awe as this was, after all, an area of heavy persecution. We watched this ‘survivor’ disappear into the night and said in perfect unison -
“Be safe badger, be safe!”
If you are interested in joining direct actions to stop the cull go here - https://innocentbadger.com/
If you are interested in helping out in some way to stop the killing inside your nearest badger cull zone, please contact: http://badgeractionnetwork.org.uk/
Mural by street artist Preg highlighting the controversy surrounding badger cull in the UK